Tuesday, 1 April 2014

GradProg talks at MCUK 2/4: Radical/Alternative Media, Multitudes and Activism

Wednesday 2 April, Room 2.04, MediaCityUK --- all welcome.

Internal Speaker: Michael Goddard (University of Salford, Media and Broadcast directorate), 2-3pm

Media Ecological Approaches to Alternative and Radical Media

This presentation will explore some of the issues in approaching alternative and radical media drawing on and extending the work of Downing et al (2000) on Radical Media and Atton on Alternative Media and An Alternative Internet (2001, 2004). In particular it will use the concept of media ecologies as developed by Matthew Fuller (Fuller 2005), as a way of approaching a range of case studies drawn from both analogue and digital media. Using examples ranging from free and pirate radio and guerrilla television to cyber-activism, this talk will look at how media ecologies and approaches to self organisation can shed light on both small scale media and activist use of larger media forms (television, social media etc).

External Speaker: Dr Joss Hands (Anglia Ruskin University), 3-4pm

Collective Idiocy: Of Digital Multitudes and Mobs

One of the most revisited concepts in critical and media theory is that of ‘general intellect’, as originally outlined by Karl Marx in his celebrated ‘Fragment on Machines’. The concept is often framed as containing a liberatory promise via the destruction of the value of labour power, and thus the capacity of capital to generate surplus value. While autonomist theories have speculated that this concept pre-empts characteristics of the digital revolution and the creation of cooperative common, there is a potential dark side of a digitally enhanced general intellect. The paper will ask whether such intelligence is indeed ‘intelligent’. This paper explores the question of whether this is actually closer to a general ‘idiocy.’ It will explore the idiotic tendencies embodied in such thinkers as Clay Shirky, James Surowiecki and Charles Leadbeater and the likely decomposition of the common into what Heidegger refers to as the ‘they’. The paper will ask whether such collective idiocy is part of our technical condition and what, to use a pointed phrase, is to be done?

Joss Hands teaches Communication and Media Studies at Anglia Ruskin University Cambridge,
where he is also director of the Anglia Research Centre in Media and Culture. He is author of @ is for Activism: Dissent Resistance and Rebellion in a Digital Culture published by Pluto Press.

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